The International Computer Security Association announced the first wave of certifications under its IPSec Internet Protocol security program.

The program is designed to ensure interoperability among products like secure firewalls and virtual private networks. IPSec has gained high visibility because it is a key element in ANX, an ambitious Internet-based commerce effort of the Automotive Industry Action Group that could influence other industries' on-line approaches.

Only products that ICSA certifies for IPSec can be used in ANX, or Automotive Network Exchange, which is designed to automate transactions among automobile manufacturers and their suppliers.

Passing the initial tests were products from Axent Technologies Inc., Check Point Software Technologies Inc., Network Associates Inc., Radguard Ltd., Timestep Corp., and VPNet Technologies Inc.

Timestep, a Canadian company that supports ICSA's process, also announced that its Permit/Client system became the first client, or remote- access, application to be certified as IPSec-compliant.

"This first round of product certification will enable the automotive industry to create the largest secure electronic commerce network," said ICSA president Peter Tippett. "Baseline interoperability and fundamental security goals have been met" and the program will "rapidly evolve to include more issues."

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